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Whereas I had not yet in this life seenJorie Graham
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Vol. 41 No. 11 · 6 June 2019
Poem

Whereas I had not yet in this life seen

Jorie Graham

484 words

stillness. Stillness in time. Rich concentrate. Late summer late-day light. Over but
not on magenta. Of. Of dahlia-heads. Of serrated leaves trimmed gold. Plush stalk
lost-still in non-moment. All awake but no wakefulness. Low. Small. Snug in flooding
light. Unwilled. No speed of anything, no, no motion on surface because suddenly no

surface, all a mechanism yes but now neither on nor off, & shining, & not even a frill
of breeze – as if there had never been time – as if being had never been or not
been – no containing, no cause/effect thing, no, all swallowed by unmovingness of all
things. Grassblades carved still. Leaning-in, angle-of, stalk. Sealed. No flex. Spin. No

rush no struggle no not even the tiniest all unwhirled & stopped till this, what is this,
stands before you, certainty – the pouring of colour stopped mid-air – all
outreaching but not towards, lapping, of thing & surround, exquisite, as if eyes closed
though all wide poured out wide. Try again. Very small the world. Quiet. The

robin’s landing on the far lawn heard, lawn heard, as-if heard, strength of the
nothing noticed, not smooth, as if on hold but never again to be released from hold,
shuddering done, no lift or fall, no, no interval, no thought, no whispering of thought,
no. Noticing blends with light. Seeing is light. No trouble in the gaze even as the

gaze gazes upon stillness and is stilled. Where is the motion I know. Where. Any
breeze and I’d be human again. Swirl of leaf and I’d see it again. The vacancy. The
crust afloat above the thing itself. There being no further than this as-if
hallucination. The hallucination of no as-if. The end. What is utterly. Is this

ancient. Is this. As if a huge pity but entirely and only made of matter. Where
has motion gone – it has taken time fate need. All lies here now in
the seen. Not seen as such just there entire in the laying-out of itself in the
which-is. No if. That’s it. The stillness of no if. Dear friend, you cannot cross here,

this is the visible world, I have seen it in this my life, by accident, just now, I have
recognised it, I do not know that I will glimpse it again in this life, I assume it’s my
one life, my mind roves over it all tapping, trying words, again words. The poem
is built for this. To come to this limit & see in & fail. It is built for this particular

failure. This wakefulness that wipes out the waking. This muteness which is the
heart of what. It is not silence. Now each wick is lit as the planet moves into
the end of the visible. The spiderweb is played string by string by the sun. Waits.
Error. Nothing waits. Radical unimagined unreleasable unscatterable unhidden

nothing waits.

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